September 07, 2010

Panda Z

This entry will feature one of the less well-known comedy/ mecha series that has a lot of merchandise (I for one have a few, several…) – Panda Z.

Panda Z is a relatively short series, literally, each episode is roughly about 5 minute, so anyone can easily whip through all 30 episodes in a day. Comparing to what many animators nowadays are doing, 26 episode series but having a 2nd season with 26 more episodes, this parody of Go Nagai's 70s – Mazinger Z is one of the most disjointed yet entertaining while sometime inconsistently deep anime I have ever seen.

If you don’t know about Mazinger Z or Go Nagai, you should check out our earlier posting – Devilman the TV series and the OVAs [link]. Another review on the OVA from the early 2000 – Devilman Amon: The Apocalypse of Devilman & the Live action will be on its way. There is also Devilman Lady. Mazinger Z is a robot with the fighting style similar to a character from street fighter or Ultraman; it was part of the 70s popular mecha genre or “super robot” genre series. Mazinger Z is most definitely one of the best from that time period.

With all the information about Nagai's work, you may wondered if you need to know about him or Mazinger Z to understand Panda Z. The answer is No! Interestingly enough as mentioned above, this is a series that is all over the place unlike many animes similar to the original Atom aka Astro Boy. So enough background info about Mazinger, Panda Z follows the adventure of Pan-Taron and his friends – granddad Dr. Panji, Rabina, Denwan, Eteckee, Hamu Ichiro and Hamu Jiro to name a few and how they defend their world from the evil Skullpanda and his minions. Not every episode will feature the “bad guys” but when they do, the two sides will usually duke it out with their animal-looking mechs. The general audience will notice the tribute to Mazinger Z in these fight sequence – the classic flying fist punch.

For the music, it rocks, literally! Just check the opening and closing! Because there is no dialogue other than captions, the music naturally becomes the form of communication, which work quite well like many of the old classic black and white films.

To find out how the series will end, stop reading and go straight to it and return to this posting afterwards. Again, we encourage readers to comment and discuss in the comment section. For those who just want to watch something fun, cute or casual, definitely check this out. Another side note, if you are a female and not big on the mecha genre, checks it out. Panda Z actually targets a wide range of audience, which aired about the same time when Sunrise’s Gundam Seed empowered more of the female characters and had them play a bigger role in the Gundam series. However, in contrast, Panda Z is a more simple, light hearted and random series so don’t expect characters crying about how they have to fight their friends.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't finished this series, but I have watched a few episodes. I agree with your point about how the music is used as a key element in telling the story. This really is a lighthearted series to watch with a lot of emphasis on harmless humour. The animation style is quite basic but also very well utilized. And anything that pays tribute to Mazinger Z is a double thumbs up in my book.